Montenegro and European Union

The Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Montenegro signed in October 2007 entered into force on 1 May 2010. This will hopefully take the country another step forward on the road to European integration. European Commissioner for Enlargement – Mr Stefan Füle, stated that “this marks the beginning of a new qualitative stage in the relations between the EU and Montenegro and a further milestone in Montenegro’s progress on the path to EU integration.”

Montenegrin EU Integration Minister – Gordana Djurovic noted that entry into force of the SAA means faster pace of Montenegro’s integration process.

Montenegro takes over the Presidency of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative

Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen attended a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative. Meeting was set-up to prepare an EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian macro-region, and to adopt a Ministerial Declaration and other documents.

„Our ambitious plan is to create Adriatic-Ionian macro-region by the 2014, which would lead to integration of Western Balkans states into the EU“ stated Italian Foreign Minister – Franco Fratini. He pointed out that goal of the Adriatic-Ionian initiative is to foster economic and cultural cooperation between its members and their accession to the EU. He also stressed that aim is not to duplicate the existing european institutions, but to ensure the strategy that will create easier cooperation in economy, infrastructure, development of rural areas, small and medium enterprises, tourism and culture.

Montenegro will take over one-year presidency of this regional initiative at the meeting in Ancona.

EurActiv.com brought an interesting interview with Mrs Milica Pejanovic Djurisic, Montenegrin Ambassador in Paris, France. This article emphasized that Montenegro will be the first country to join the EU, after Croatia. Read the full article here.

In addition, EurActiv published an interview with MEP Charles Tannock, who is European Parliament’s rapporteur on Montenegro. He said that Montenegro should start accession talks in 2011. (read more here) The story also pointed out that money laundering and other criminal activities are easy in Montenegro and that represents big issue. Montenegro is one of the rare countries outside the Euro-zone, who uses the Euro as its official currency. Read more here…

SEE regional portal – Waz.EUObserver.com brings a story about Montenegro as the best “EU student”. Montenegro: A surprise regional champion is the name of the article which states that Ambition is rarely matched by sufficient reform when it comes to Balkan countries’ desire to enter the European Union. The region’s aspirants for EU accession seldom make the news with their achievements – more regularly they are associated with stalled political effort and delayed results.

This is not the case with tiny Montenegro, which appears to be the EU’s best student in the Western Balkans. It is politically stable and remarkably assiduous in following Brussels’ reform recommendations.

Montenegro shares many of its neighbours’ problems with crime, graft and unreformed judiciary. However, it is not too hard to stand out in a neighbourhood where countries struggle to resolve much tougher challenges that delay not just their EU future, but also their transformation into proper democracies. Read full article here…

Transparency International reported about anti-corruption fight in the region and stated that all countries face similar problems in this matter. Anti-corruption experts in Montenegro say that their work is impeded by unlawful use of exceptions to deny access to documents such as privatisation contracts. Even in cases where access is granted, experts are often denied the right to receive copies of documents, being permitted only to view the originals, thus making it impossible for them to analyse the information and identify cases of corruption. Read their full report here…

The Economist brings disturbing story named “Death in Montenegro”. It is yet another article which describes the complexity of small Montenegrin state and alleged ties of organized crime with high political figures in the country. Read full article here…

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